Got some parts in last week and getting ready to start the build. My goal is to make my 2015 JGC Summit EcoDiesel a bit more off road capable and more aggressive looking while still leaving it comfortable as a daily driver. Any ideas, input or even criticism would be welcome! Planned mods are listed below.
Definite Mods Being Done Immediately:
-Rocky Road Outfitters' Bumper Bar [Delivered/Awaiting Install]
-Rocky Road Outfitters' Brush Bar Kit [Delivered/Awaiting Install]
-Rocky Road Outfitters' Adventure Rack w/Axle Mount, Can Carriers, Lightbar, HiLift Mount & Ax/Shovel Dual Mount [Delivered/Awaiting Install]
-Rocky Road Outfitters' Pre-runner Skidplate [Delivered/Awaiting Install]
-Rocky Road Outfitters' Supersliders [Delivered/Awaiting Install]
-Smittybilt XRC9.5 Winch w/Synthetic Line [Ordered and Shipped]
-Front Tow Hooks [Ordered and Shipped]
-Chief Products Sump Protection Plate [Ordered and Shipped]
-Chief Products Transmission Protection Plate [Ordered and Shipped]
-Custom Start/Push Button (By Forum Member JeepJunkie)
-Factory Skidplates [Installed]
-Swapout Summit Honeycomb Grill Inserts with Black [Installed]
Definite Mods Being Done Sometime Soon (Hopefully): -New Aggressive Tires (possibly an 18" wheel to replace the stock 20")
-Blackout All Chrome/Platinum Trim & Badging
-Paint Select Trim Red for Pop (possibly foglight bezels, grill rings, calipers and maybe something in the rear and/or on the sides)
-Off Road Lights (LED lightbar and LED lights, not sure on manufacturer/model yet)
-Lockpick for Nav/Camera/Screen Mirroring
-Chief Products Pre-Runner (If it looks better and offers better protection than RRO's)
I have attached some pictures of my JGC from the first weekend I got it and took it offroading, also I am including pictures of the parts I already got in from RRO and the push button JeepJunkie is doing for me. Hopefully this build won't be too spread out, I would like to get most of this done in the next two months. Thanks and I hope you all enjoy my build!
So it has been a few weeks now and it's time for an update...
First let me start off by saying I am new to the whole "modding" thing and I was a little worried about taking on so much as a noob. Although, I have no real experience working on my cars, I have been in and around construction my whole life so I did feel comfortable with a lot of the work and with using pretty much any tool. Also, I was fortunate enough to have some help from my Dad, my Nephew and even the occasional helping hand from my Brother-in-Law.
Well this whole thing started when I totaled my last car (a 2011 Acura MDX pictured below). After 2 MDX's in a row, I had missed the off road capability of the 2005 JGC Limited Hemi I had before going to Acura so I decided to go back to Jeep. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Jeep had caught up in the Tech department and offered all the features that my Acura had (which was one of the reasons I had left Jeep). After a bit of looking (I had to do it fast because I only had a rental for a limited time after the accident and needed a new car fast) I decided to go with the Summit even though it didn't offer the ORAII package I so dearly wanted. I figured I could do some work myself to give it the same or better capabilities and that is what got us here...sorry for all the rambling, now on to the build...
I took out the Jeep the first weekend after I got it and promptly tore two of the underbody plastic "protection" plates (some pictures below). So naturally the first thing I ordered was all the factory skid plates and promptly installed them. This was a pretty easy mod as it was all just bolt on with no surprises. Also, I had ordered the DEF protection plate (made by member dom42) and installed it at the same time. A couple other small items (black grill inserts and slush mats) arrived from JustforJeeps.com before the weekend that I did the install so I threw them in too.
A few weekends later most of my parts from RRO had arrived. I installed the Supersliders and the Roof Rack on that Saturday. These were a little more difficult than the skid plates...
First the roof rack, this was really easy, just a bolt on job. The middle bars on the roof rack seemed to be a little shorter (width) than they needed to be but still worked and overall I was pleased with how it went. Some of the mounts I ordered along with roof rack never showed up but one call to RRO and they sent the missing parts on their way.
The Supersliders. These were a bit more tricky. First off, they were quite a bit shorter than I thought they would be but they still look good and I don't plan on doing any huge rock crawling so I think they will work for my uses. Next, as I went to install the supersliders, I noticed that the holes on the rock rails didn't line up with the holes they were supposed to bolt through on the pinch weld. No matter what I tried they were still at least 1/4" to 1/2" off. The only way I could get them on was to remove the plastic rocker panel (I think that is what it's called, it's just the plastic body piece under the doors). So I removed it and they installed pretty easy after that. I have called RRO and they said I should not of had to do this. They asked me to send pictures and measurements and such, which I plan on doing this weekend. I am wondering if it is due to the Summit having a different body piece there than the other trimlines? That was it for Saturday. Up next is that Sunday's work...
So Sunday we decided to tackle the front end. I knew this was going to be the toughest part as the RRO winch mount and pre-runner were designed for the other trimlines and there would be some modifications needed to get all these parts to work on the Summit. We started off by removing the front bodywork (grill, headlights, lower fascia, etc...). It all comes off in one piece after removing a few screws and push pins from the wheel well and front of the engine compartment just under the front edge of the hood. After they are all removed you just have to pull relatively hard and the whole thing pops off. After removing that we had to remove the front bumper (I guess that is what you call it, see the pictures below). Then install the winch mount. All this was pretty easy. It was even easier than in the instructions RRO sent as some of the places the instructions said we would have to drill in the new winch mount bumper were already pre-drilled by RRO.
Next were the tow hooks. These should have been pretty simple but I messed this part up. The instructions that came with these showed the bolts in a picture on the front with a letter designation next to the different bolts. These letters correspond with the letters shown in the pictures showing you how to install the tow hooks. Pretty simple stuff, like putting together Ikea furniture, right? Well yes, except in the picture on the front page that labels the parts, one bolt type (C if I remember correctly) clearly looks long than the other bolt type (E I believe). If I would have actually read the legend below it gives the bolt lengths for each letter designation but having seen the picture I just assumed that C was the longer bolt and E was the shorter. Well I was wrong. I got the first tow hook on and tightened with the wrong bolts with no problems. On the second one, while tightening one of the bolts with a hammerdrill, the head snapped off. So after a trip to the hardware store to pick up the proper tool to remove the bolt and to buy a replacement, I finished what should have been a quick easy install a couple hours later than expected. Next up the winch...
The winch was pretty easy. It just bolted down to the winch mount bumper and the wires just followed the factory wiring into the engine compartment. I cut a small hole in the front body piece to put the winch rope through for now (until I mocked up the front brush bar, I didn't want to cut out too much on the body for fear it wouldn't be covered up) After an easy one, it was time to take on another difficult one, the pre-runner...
So right off the bat I know I would have to modify the pre-runner for the ACC sensor. I decided to do it a little different than the other people I had seen do it in the forums. I opted to just cut out a rectangle from the top of the pre-runner down to just far enough for the ACC to clear it. I planned on having a metal fab shop create a cover for it later to use whenever I am off roading. My cut was just far enough for the sensor to fit but I didn't like how close it was to the wiring harness and the way the wires had to be bent to fit (see the pictures below). Even though I wasn't happy with this, it was getting late on a Sunday evening and I still had an hour and a half drive back down to San Diego so it would have to do for now. We quickly buttoned up what we could (I had to leave off the lower part of the front fascia) so I could leave for home. At 9:00pm we finally finished.
So the biggest mistake I made was not spending the extra time to make the cuts I needed to in the lower front fascia in order to put the pieces that are in front of the wheels back on before leaving...After I woke up and went to my Jeep the next morning I saw that both front fender liners were trashed because there was nothing to block the wind from hitting them directly at 80mph on the freeway. Now I have to add those to my parts list. Next up is last week/weekend (which I will post tomorrow because it is late and I need to get to bed)...
So, last week began with me deciding, since I didn't have the space or all the tools needed to do any significant mods while at my place in SD, I would try my hand at the ever controversial plasti dip. I had read about it many times on the forums and had heard its pros and cons and I figured I would give it a shot. I watched a bunch of videos on dipyourcar.com and youtube to prepare. The first thing I decided to dip was the Jeep logo (in black) on the front of the car. It came out pretty good (except the plasti dip inside the e's and p were impossible to get out cleanly. Next up I decided to do the grill rings in red. This wasn't as easy because with plasti dip you are supposed to leave a little bit of surface next to what you want to paint unprotected so you can peel of the excess and leave a nice edge. Well, this is fine for the outer edges of the grill rings but the honeycomb inside the rings is a different story. I should have taken the inserts out before painting the rings (which I did do later when I repainted them black). Because I didn't, it was impossible to get the dip off all the little crevices in the first 1/4" back from the rings (I had taped off all but a 1/4" or so close to the rings). When I covered up the rest of the front end for the grill rings, I had to cover up the front Jeep logo I had finished a couple hours before. This was not a good thing. It ended up getting messed up and I had to repaint it. That should have been my first warning with the plasti dip. The next day I decided to do the back of the car. I got newspaper and taped of the whole back of the car in preparation. I painted the trim with the plasti dip, making sure to do 4 coats as directed in the videos with 15 minutes between coats and 45 minutes after the last coat before peeling off the excess (or I should say, trying to peel off the excess). When I went to peel off the excess, it did not peel. It was pretty thin in a lot of places so I chalked it up to user error and decide to remove it all the next weekend and do it right (with proper lighting, thicker coats and even adding a 5th coat). But before I would get to that I had an appointment with a metal fab shop on Friday afternoon...
Friday, I left work a little early to make it up to the fab shop in Riverside before they closed at 5. The guys there were really cool and had some good ideas for the ACC cover I wanted for off roading. Their plan, which we decided to go with, was much simpler than the ideas that had been floating around in my head for the past week. We did a mockup out of some thin sheet metal they had laying around (see pictures below). What the pictures don't show are that he plans on using thick steel (the same thickness and the RRO pre-runner) and there will be sides welded on to cover with tabs on either side of the cover. These tabs will have bolt holes in them and the RRO pre-runner will be drilled and tapped behind them to accept the bolt that will hold on the cover. There is also a factory hole in the frame underneath where the pre-runner and sump protection plate mount which we will be using for the bottom of the cover. After I was satisfied with the mockup they promised to have it done by the time I would be able to pick it up (2 weeks out) and have it powder coated for me. Next up, Saturdays work...
I wasn't able to get started on the work until Saturday afternoon, so I didn't plan on getting a whole lot done that day. First up was making some adjustments to the winch controller. The original location did not allow for me to leave the remote plugged in at all times like I wanted (the remote wire interfered with the front grill where the wire plugged into the controller). We ended up moving to controller to where RRO recommended mounting it, using their brackets and hanging off the hood latch mount bolts. This worked a little better but it is still a little tighter than I like. I am wondering if anyone makes a winch remote control cable with a right angle female end or a male to female right angle adapter? Anyway it works fine and it was on to cutting the lower fascia.
I had to cut up the lower fascia so I could cover up the areas in front of the wheels and protect things like the compressor for the quadralift, the windshield washer fluid and those fender liners that I tore up the previous week and still have them fit with the RRO pre-runner. This was one of the scariest parts for me as I have never really worked with plastic and if I messed up it could be an expensive mistake if I have to buy a whole new front fascia. Luckily, member Zybane had already done it on his Summit so I was able to use his pictures to help me decide where to cut. I made sure with all the initial cuts I left a lot of extra material on it so I could carefully do my final cuts without too much interference from the areas I would be cutting off. All in all I think it came out great and it is one of those things that just makes a HUGE difference in appearance once you put them back on. Next post, the final day (so far)…
Sunday this past weekend was the day I hoped to get just about everything I had left to do (until I order some more things) done. It started with plasti dip...
So, as I said before I wasn't too sure about plasti dip but figured I would give it a shot. I removed all the plasti dip I did during the week with some goo gone as I wasn't happy with how it had come out and prepped the whole car so I could do almost all of it in one shot (see the pics below). This time I resolved to do thicker coats and 5 of them rather than 4 so it would hopefully be easier to remove the excess dip. After a couple hours of spraying my brand new car and a few blisters from the spray nozzle I was using,, I finally finished. As I stood back from the Jeep it looked pretty good and I couldn't wait to peel off the excess dip and see the finished product. That's was the last time I felt optimistic about plasti dip. This stuff was STILL hard to peel off in large sections except for a few spots and even then sometimes it would leave the tiniest pieces exposed where it was supposed to break. It was very frustrating, not to mention that when I tried to remove the bad spots, I would inevitably screw up the spots where I wanted it to stay! Now, maybe this was partly to user error but I did do thicker coats and 5 of them...maybe the coats still weren't thick enough? Regardless I still think this product would have left a stale taste in my mouth even if it all peeled away easily because it seems pretty fragile. I wish I had listened to some of the other posters and just not bothered. I have already ordered all the black badges, black grill rings, black step surround and I am going to be removing all the plasti dip and will vinyl wrap any parts that aren't sold in black. Lesson learned. I will say this though about plasti dip...it may be ok to use on some badging if you are on a budget. It was fairly easy to do on small spots like a badge so it wouldn't be difficult to peel it off and redo it there if it got messed up. As of now I will leave on the plasti dip until I get the parts in and can take it down to get it vinyl wrapped. It does look "good from far but far from good". Next up, the last of the front end.
I decided to take off the pre-runner and cut it a little more to take the pressure off the wiring harness for the ACC. So after cutting it another 1/2" that piece was done and re-installed. After that it was onto cutting th plastic bumper to size for the winch opening. It was farily easy with a dywall rotary saw. Onto the pieces that change the whole look of the Jeep, the RRO Bumper Bar and Brush Bar combo. These took a little bit of modifying. The should have been easier but one of the bolt holes on the brush bar didn't quite line up with the bottom right one on the bumper bar. It just took a couple passes with a large drill bit and we were able to get it to match up. We thought this was what was causing some difficulty with getting some of the bolts to go all the way in (due to the pressure from the holes being off) but even after drilling it out larger we still had the problem. We decided to run a tap through the winch mount bumper that the bumper bar and brush bar mount too (thinking the powder coating must have gotten in the threads). That did the trick. Everything went smoothly after that except the front license mount plate. It was pretty clear that if we mounted the bracket for the license plate mount behind the hawse fairlead as it was supposed to, the license plate mount wouldn't fit over the Flatlink I had just installed from Factor 55. So we decided to ditch the bracket and just tap one of the horizontal tube steel pieces on the brush bar and mount the license plate frame mount directly to it. I think it came out even better looking than the bracket would have. Anyway this is all I have scheduled for the immediate future but I will have some more stuff done in a few weeks hopefully. Thanks!
Nice build. Why did you choose the Supersliders over Mopar? To me, the Mopars look like they have better coverage and stick out less.
I guess it came down to three things. #1 I didn't realize they were that short. I guess I didn't look at the pictures on RRO's website close enough. #2 was price. I am not cheap but RRO's were a lot cheaper and they seem to make quality parts. #3 I was ordering a bunch of their other stuff. I kinda wish I would have gone with Mopar now but we'll see what happens with the rocker panel situation and RRO.
Enjoying your mods mate... power to you for going at it hard.
I'm thinking your front ParkSense is not going to be happy with the metal next to the inner sensors? Is there a way around this or do you have to forego them?
Thanks for the kind words! Actually, I haven't had any issues with the ParkSense sensors at all. One of RRO's selling points was that it worked with the ParkSense sensors and I am happy to report that this is true. The ACC/FCW sensor is a different story. Occasionally, (like once every 3 or 4 times I use it) the ACC will give me an error code while using it and say that I need to wipe it and shut itself off. If I wait for a few minutes and then turn it back on it works fine. Also, the FCW goes off once in a while (it has happened like 5 times). It is only the brake warning light flashing and beeping. It has never applied the brakes. It also seems to me that this only happens when I am going up hill and approaching a large freeway sign. Maybe the sensor just needs a little adjustment? I am not sure what I need to do to fix it but I am pretty sure the dealership isn't going to do it under warranty after all the mods I have done. :-(